Greenwor(l)ds: Ecocritical Readings of Canadianwomen's Poetry

Article excerpt


by Diana M. A. Relke (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 1999).

In this book, Diana M. A. Relke provides an introduction to the new field of ecocriticism. This area of study, which reinvests environmental concerns into Literary analysis, gained academic prominence in the early 90's but has roots in earLier literary movements, such as Romanticism. Deftly mingling literary criticism with references to Greek, biblical, and matriarchal myths, Retke criticizes a wide array of past and present Literary methodologies for being mate-centred and oblivious to environmental concerns. She brings our attention to Canadian female poets, from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, who actively integrate ecological issues and subject matter into their work.

Relke is a founding member and Professor in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Saskatchewan, and an interdisciplinary schoLar. Her writing is comprehensible, concise, and inspiring, for she has "adopted the position that Language is less opaque than current [academic] fashion would have it" (p.184). Her introduction is inviting and her analyses are informative and dexterous. Both the young scholar and the seasoned professor will find this book valuable. Retke demands little previous experience with theory, gives detailed backgrounds of each methodology that she studies, and comprehensively relates it to ecocritical debate. For the august academic, Relke challenges many current and authorative theories by providing innovative and disarming arguments about their mate-centred and unenvironmental nature. Her attractive descriptions of Canadian female poets will send many a reader rushing to the nearest bookstore in search of their works! …